Archive for November, 2004

Kickers Overrated

Monday, 29 November, 2004

By Zack Cimini

Every year in a fantasy football draft some idiot decides to take a kicker too early in the eleventh or twelfth round. I only can laugh because with that pick I?m adding quality depth at wide receiver or running back. It has always been a rule of mine to pick a kicker with my last pick. The reason why is because kickers are more over rated than Ron Dayne was coming out of college. They can be heroes one week, and fantasy goats the next. The bottom line is at the end of the season, most kickers stats are going to be grouped together.

The Raiders have managed to keep Sebastian Janikowski on their team. In all honesty though, Janikowski hasn?t earned one bit of the worthiness of being a first round pick. More than likely he won?t finish as a Raider, and that pick will go down as one of the worst picks in NFL history. A kicker is a safety insurance outlet when you can?t score a touchdown. No NFL team wants their kicker on the field unless they are kicking an extra point. If teams would spend more time scouting kickers they?ll be able to find gems in arena football leagues and colleges.

It just boggles my mind when a fantasy owner over emphasizes the importance of a kicker. It?s a position that is the most unpredictable of any fantasy roster spot. Your quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers are guaranteed to be on the field. A kicker could go an entire game without kicking a field goal, and no fantasy owner is happy with fantasy extra points.

Even if you end up with a proven veteran kicker, there is no telling that he won?t fall into a cold streak. Kickers are streaky just like a baseball pitcher. They can kick twenty field goals in a row, and then miss two or three important kicks. Right now Martin Gramatica is the case of study. He missed three field goals Sunday, and has struggled the majority of the year. We all know he is a solid kicker that is just having a down year.

Next summer, look around the NFL training camps to figure out which teams are having training camp battles. More and more teams are doing it, and usually you can find a gem on picking the winner of the battle. Especially some of the youngsters that come in with a low salary base and a strong mind in beating out a veteran.

One Week Wonder

Saturday, 27 November, 2004

By Zack Cimini

Any standout Buffalo Bills offensive performance is going to produce a wow among fantasy football owners. It has already been disappointing enough if you wasted a high pick on Travis Henry, or Eric Moulds on having a bounce back year. But last week against the St. Louis Rams, Drew Bledsoe managed to have his best game of the season and hooked up with this week?s one week wonder in tight end Mark Campbell.

Tight ends are known for scoring touchdowns on few catches, especially in the red zone. Campbell did just that catching all three of his touchdowns in the red zone, upping his total to five touchdowns this season. Campbell is a nice option if you were forced to draft a tight end in your league and waited until the last round, but Buffalo?s inept offense makes it a headache in banking on anyone from their team.

This team is starting to change their direction from an April 2005 top five NFL pick, to now maybe finishing at .500. I know that sounds impossible, but the Bills remaining schedule could be the easiest in the NFL. They face Miami, Seattle, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and then finally a tough final game against Pittsburgh.

Week 11: Pick Up of The Week

Saturday, 27 November, 2004

By Zack Cimini

Any obvious football fan has seen that Julius Jones is going to be a top fifteen back in this league in the immediate future. In two weeks he has almost already accomplished the stats that Eddie George has combined for this year. He is a young explosive back, that will only get better as the Cowboys quarterback situation does.

Bill Parcell?s got into Julius Jones head earlier in the season, and he took it very seriously during his time off with an injury. For Parcell?s to give Jones the starting job back immediately when he was healthy, shows how much talent Parcell?s sees in the youngster. This is twice that Parcell?s has shown a different attitude in the way he directs his players. In the summer when Antonio Bryant threw a towel at Parcells, it would?ve been an automatic given for Bryant to be cut. But Parcells only put Bryant in his doghouse, because he knew how much talent Bryant has. Even though he ended up trading Bryant for Quincy Morgan, it is besides the point.

In fantasy football drafts during the summer, Jones was picked in many leagues. But any player that is out for a length of the year is often cut by an owner. If you didn?t pick him up off of waivers last week, than you?ve lost out on any slim opportunity. He should be a big payoff towards the fantasy football playoffs.

M. I. A. M. I For Williams

Thursday, 25 November, 2004

By Zack Cimini

I?m an All Pro athlete that has earned millions of dollars in five years in the league, so why not retire? I can enjoy my life without taking any random drug tests (hint), and live off the money I?ve made the rest of my life. Even if I decide to come back, I shouldn?t have too for a good three to four seasons. So how about I make things even smoother by telling my team I?m retiring right before training camp? If this sounds like a re-run story, that?s because it was brought to you by Ricky Williams.

So in late July he announced his retirement from the league, and left his team from being a Super Bowl contender to the bassment of the NFL. The trade off for Williams deciding so late, lost the respect from all his teammates and cost the job of Dave Wannstedt down the road. Not even two weeks after Wannstedt was fired, Ricky Williams reinstatement is almost finalized. So what is the real reason for Williams wanting to come back so early? Has he found a true love for the game that all of the sudden is back in him? Or was it because Miami won an agreement that Williams must pay $8.6 million because of breaking his contract? Hmmm, it doesn?t take a die hard sports fan to figure this out. Williams real reason for coming back is because M. I A. M. I is the true meaning for his come back.

The letters spelled out are the team he is currently under contract with, but the underlying meaning is that Money Is A Major Issue. It?s what rap artist Pitbull named his CD, but it doesn?t matter what profession your in money is always the biggest issue. If you?re working at a local store as a manager making $20 dollars an hour, you?d be living fairly well in today?s society. The money is good, but doesn?t mean that you?re necessarily happy. Say if a few weeks later you won the lottery, you?re going to obviously quit. Imagine though, that somehow your lottery ticket was found to be illegal and you lost out. You?re going to go back to that same job, and try to get your job security and life together.

That analogy is the problem with sports today. They?re making so much money that they?re winning the lottery every year they play under contract. All of the sudden they come in as hungry rookies, and then three or four years later their play starts to go down. Just take a look at how much money the Indiana Pacers player?s are losing that got suspended. Jermaine O?Neal is losing twenty five percent of his $15 million contract, and Ron Artest is losing out on almost $5 million. More than likely that player is mad about what they?re missing out on, but it?s nothing that they can?t gain back in a heart beat once they step back on that court.

There is no way that any organization could count on Williams as the main guy on their team. Not even if he comes back and has three straight pro bowl seasons, there will always be the chance of him deciding to hang it up. Once you show that you are a quitter, there will always be people second guessing him. Miami worked hard to get Williams from New Orleans, and now they?re going to have to end up getting a meaningless second, third, or fourth round pick for Williams talents. Teams know what they?re going to get from Williams physically, but mentally that is going to be the concern.

There is no doubt that Williams should succeed next year, but how he undermined the roots of the NFL is a blemish that will always be tacked on to his career.

Oh No In The NO

Thursday, 25 November, 2004

By Zack Cimini

If there was a medic on the scene for the Saints team the diagnosis would be that they?re on life support. There hasn?t been a team in the NFC that has wasted as much talent as the New Orleans Saints. Just take a look at their roster, especially offensively. They have a Pro Bowl receiver in Joe Horn and one of the best running backs in the league in Deuce McAllister. So why do the Saints continue to be an inopportune team in a weak NFC?

All problems circulate around a quarterback, and that is just the case with Aaron Brooks. At times he can tear a part defenses, but when he is feeling pressure he feels the need to get rid of the football like a hot potato. There is nothing wrong with taking a sack, or throwing the football away. Rookies make the type of mistakes Brooks makes every week, and learn to correct and advance to NFL game speed. For some reason though Brooks hasn?t been able to get it in his head, and at 4-6 the time might be running out for Brooks.

He has made two of the worst plays that I?ve seen from a quarterback in the last ten years this season. In fact when you think of the name Aaron Brooks those two plays probably pop into your head. Who steps back and just throws the ball in the air because they are about to get sacked? It is one thing to improvise, but the key is too take what?s there. He was about to get sacked for a safety, so he just panicked and threw it to the other team for the touchdown against Denver. It reminds me of the NBA when the shot clock is running out, but a player is forced to just throw it up. Nine times out of ten the shot is going to look horrible, or miss the rim completely.

This is Brooks fourth year as a starter, and the project is over for him. If he can settle down in the pocket and utilize his arm strength he could be a top five quarterback. The what if?s though, have been an on going question so far in his career. Obviously the Saints dim playoffs hopes are drawing to a near conclusion. More than likely Jim Haslett will lose his job, and the Saints will look in a new direction at quarterback. That?s not to say Brook?s chances in this league are over. We?ve all seen quarterbacks resurrect their careers in a new system with a different nucleus of players.

Pickup of The Week

Thursday, 18 November, 2004

If you?re looking for a pickup this week at wide receiver than look for anyone of the Carolina receivers. More than likely Mushin Muhammed was buried on someone?s roster, but if someone gave up on him hopefully you swept him up in a heart beat. He proved last week that he still has a lot left in him with three fantastic touchdown catches against the 49ers. Ricky Proehl or Kerry Colbert would also be wise pickups too add depth to your receivers. With Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster out for the year, the Panthers will more than likely abandon the run from here on out. That means that at least three receivers should put up solid stats every week. These are the type of players that will be having an impact once the fantasy playoffs come around for your league. There is nothing like having a great season, and then letting another team knock you off with scrap player?s from non existent teams.